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Day 8

This morning we slept in a bit. We were to be at Te Papa at 10 am for a guided tour of the biggest interactive museum in New Zealand.

What an amazing place. We spent time learning about the land, ecosystems, animals, earthquakes, fish and more about the Maori culture. We finished the tour with a sampling of traditional food. We tried cold mussels, Maori bread, tea tree & sweet potatos.

After the tour we were given the option to stay and explore the 5 story museum or spend time exploring Wellington. D'Arcy and I took the time to walk along the water, explore different stores and generally relax.

We had supper at Scopa. We tried a variety of pizza and gelati. It was wonderful!

Tomorrow we start our very long journey back to Auckland. We will make some short stops along the way before we spend our last night in New Zealand.

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Location:Oriental Parade,Oriental Bay,New Zealand Wellington

Day 7 continued

Wellington is a beautiful city. It took quite a long time to get here. We passed through rain and hail and crazy winds. When we arrived we dropped Carys off at the airport and headed over to a museum that displays props from different movies from New Zealand. Many of us enjoyed Lord of the Rings so that was amazing to see.

After the short visit we drove around Wellington. It certainly has a different feel that Auckland. We then drove to our hostel. Grateful to have a home for two nights in this wonderful hostel. We have been very lucky to have had great places to stay at each location.

Tonight was a night off. We didn't even go for dinner as we stopped at subway for a late lunch and no one was hungry. We all spent some time exploring the city before sleeping.

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Location:Oriental Parade,Oriental Bay,New Zealand

Day 7

Today we start our journey to Wellington. We will be staying there for two nights. A much needed home base as we've been on the move for the past 2 nights.

We are taking along drive straight through to Wellington as Carys needs to catch her flight home at 4 pm. Unfortunately Carys is leave us today. As she has to return to Canada for a previous engagement.

We' ve been very fortunate to have her with us and we will miss her on our last few days in New Zealand.

More to come .... Excited to see what lays ahead of us today.
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Location:Lake Taupo to Wellington

Day 6

We started the day off with a Smudge. This moment in time was a very special moment for us all. Thinking of our families, children and friends we've left in Canada. Everyone is missing them but realize how important our stories will be for them upon our return.

Today we drove from waitamo to lake taupo. We stopped along the way to take a tour of some geysers and mud pools. The students really enjoyed the tour. During this time D'Arcy and I took time to read the student blogs as we wanted to give our a special blogging prize.

Congrats to Cheyene for writing a wonderful description of our time in New Zealand. As a prize Cheyenne experienced a New Zealand bungy jump. Carys and Megan also jumped. Megan had a video camera strapped to her body to capture the entire experience.

After the bungy jumping we went to some hot pools. Even though it was very cold out, everyone jumped in to enjoy the 32 degree water. Some eve enjoyed a thermal waterfall. This finished off another amazing day. It cut the cold and relaxed everyone.

For dinner we went to Soul and Chicken. We had a variety of food from fish and chips to lamb shanks. It was quite good but we were all ready. For bed.

Again we had a wonderful hostel called the Tiki lodge.

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Location:Huia St,Taupo,New Zealand

Day 5 continued

We arrived at our hostel and it was like a mountain resort. We were in a tiny town that had a hostel and a restaurant. We left the hostel and went to our cave tour. The caves were amazing but what was even more interesting were the glow worms. It was almost like a sky filled with stars.

After the caves we had a couple of hours off to clean up and enjoy our mountain hostel. For dinner we had a traditional kiwi BBQ consisting of steak, sausage, potatoes and salad.

We ran into a group from Illinois who was also doing documentary. The group spent a lot of time getting to know them and playing some pool.

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Day 5

We started the day a little later today. We slept until 9.....or at least we able to. The students didn't even sleep in. They are always up at the same time as the teachers.

After breakfast we went to a place called Zorb. Some students wanted to ride on the Zorb. The Zorb is a huge plastic ball filled with some hot water with another ball inside. The students climbed in and rolled down a hill.

We are now on our way to our next location, Waitomo. We are very excited to visit the glow worm caves.....

Updates on the rest of the day to follow!

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Location:Rotorura to Waitomo

Day 4

Today we began our cultural activities by learning the Haka. Haka is the traditional dance to prepare for war. Mike our guide told us it would be very invigorating but that certainly was an understatement. We started by learning the words and the reason behind the words that are used. The students picked it up very fast. We figure this was because it is similar to speaking Cree. We then learned the actions. We learned how important facial expressions are to the Maori culture.

We then dressed in traditional outfits and performed the Haka a few times. We all left energized and eager to learn more.

We then to a traditional moari village called whaterara. This is a village where a Maori tribe live and work. We participated in a cultural dance ceremony, learned more about the Maori culture and the importance of their meetings houses.

We saw our first geysers. We were fortunate enough to see them erupt as this only happens once every hour.

The students found a Maori tattoo artist and 9 chose to get a real tattoo to remember this experience.

We then visited a Maori arts and crafts center. We wove some flowers from some plants we would consider palms. We then spent some time with our guide discussing similarities in the Cree and Maori cultures. This was amazing to listen to. The students are becoming more and more aware of their connection to culture and how important it is to their lives. They've even spoke of ways they would like to make sure to involve culture and pride in culture when they return to Canada.

We then had a wonderful Mongolian BBQ at Gengi's.

Another amazing day!

Please click on the participants tab up top and choose The teachers tab and click on Carys' blog to see pictures of our day. Carys is able to load pictures. They are wonderful and show what I have been writing about.

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Location:Pukehangi Rd,Westbrook,New Zealand

Day 3

After a chilllllllllly night, we got up early anticipating some great sea kayaking. Unfortunately the weather did not hold up for us and we had to cancel.

On the bright side, what we did instead blew ours minds. Have you ever seen the movie "the beach"?

If you have, you will know what we experienced. If you haven't, wait until you see the pictures.

After leaving Whatianga we drove to cathedral cove. This is where they shot part of the movie Chronicles of Narnia. A beach with surf waves, cliffs and a waterfall. We hiked through a gorgeous forest to get the beach. We played for hours in the water. This is truly experiencing life!

We then drove to Rotorura. This is the city where we intend to immerse ourselves in Maori culture. After a long but beautiful bus ride we arrived at our next hostel.

We then began our Maori experience at a traditional Maori cultural center called Mitai village. We spent a couple of hours experiencing, song, dance, welcoming ceremonies and learning about Maori ways. We then partook in a traditional hangi meal. THe meal was incredible. We ate lamb, sweet potatoes, chicken and a variety of other authentic foods. The meat and potatoes were all cooked in sacks in the ground. The taste was unreal!

The group truly had a great day filled with first experiences and culture that really had everyone realizing just how special the Cree culture is and how it will be even more prevalent in their lives.

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Location:Whatianga to rotorura

Day 2

Started the day in Auckland. Spent a great night at YHA hostel. Most had great sleeps after the long journey. After breakfast we took a drive to the corumendel peninsula. On the way we stopped at a variety of places including a beautiful beach.We collected shells and volcano rock and played in the water. It was raining but we still managed to get even more wet in the water.

We had a quick lunch and headed to the next event Maori bone carving. We all carved our own necklaces out of bone. Amazing

We then went to our next hostel, turtle cove, where we had a home cooked spaghetti meal. We spent some time wandering around the town of Whatianga before bed.

We apologize for the lack of blog entries by students but we are having very little luck getting Internet access. Students are writing their blog entries on the bus, at the hostels and pretty much everywhere they can. We will see postings pop up very soon! Thanks for your patience.

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Location:Corumendel/Whatianga,New Zealand

What an experience!

We have arrived!!! After a 14 hour flight we landed in Auckland at 4:30 am. With only little sleep the students were still so very excited to finally see New Zealand.

Our tour guide Mike picked us up and we head out to find a coffee shop. Our second stop was at the top of one tree hill tonwatchbthe sun rise. We saw our first sheep on the way up.

We then went to the hostel for a quick shower before heading on a short tour of Auckland. Ournonly tour of the day was at Kelly tarletons underwater world.

We then has some time explore queen street, one of the main streets in Auckland.

We went to a buffet for dinner and then we all either went to bed or toured some more streets near our hostel.

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Location:Lake Rd,Ohinemutu,New Zealand

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